The Department of Justice has missed a deadline to provide GOP congressmen full copies of the infamous memos fired FBI Director James B. Comey composed about his conversations with President Trump, then used in his new tell-all bombshell book “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership.”
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said the DOJ requires more time and further consultation before making the full memos publicly available.
“Department officials are consulting with the relevant parties,” Mr. Rosenstein wrote in a letter on Monday. “One or more of the memos may relate to an ongoing investigation, may contained classified information, and may report confidential Presidential communications, so we have a legal duty to evaluate the consequences of providing access to them.”
The deputy attorney general added that officials are proceeding as fast as possible and hope to respond by “mid-week.”
On Friday, Reps. Devin Nunes, Trey Gowdy, and Bob Goodlatte, chairmen of three House committees that oversee the DOJ, wrote Mr. Rosenstein requesting unredacted copies of Mr. Comey’s memos by Monday.
In their letter, they argue that the former FBI chief used the documents for parts of his book and that there is “no legal basis for withholding these materials from Congress.”
Officially published on Tuesday, “A Higher Loyalty” is the centerpiece of a publicity blitz by Mr. Comey who has interviews scheduled with Fox News, PBS, CNN, MSNBC, CBS and ABC this week — in addition to kicking off a 10-city national book tour.
It is packed with explosive claims about Mr. Trump, including describing him as similar to a mafia boss.
Mr. Trump has dismissed the book, nicknaming the former FBI director “Slippery James Comey” and blasting the memos as “self serving and FAKE!”
With Mr. Comey discussing the memo contents in interviews, his critics are outraged that the full contents have not been made public.
“It appears like there is much in the book that comes from the memos,” Mr. Nunes, California Republican, told Fox News on Friday.
The chair of the House Intelligence committee has also lashed out at Mr. Comey for suggesting during last year’s congressional testimony that he leaked the memos to The New York Times to trigger the appointment of a special counsel to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign.
That probe has been underway since Mr. Comey’s firing and is headed by special counsel Robert Mueller with Mr. Rosenstein overseeing the work.
Mr. Nunes has argued the leak invalidates all claims that the documents must remain secret.
Officials at the FBI have withheld the memos from Congress and allowed tightly limited access to redacted versions. They claim the memos are classified because the contents include conversations between the president and the FBI director.
“They were already leaked,” Mr. Nunes said last week of the memos, “They should be made available not just to all the key congressional committees, but … to the public.”
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